NBC's Brian Williams told an assemblage of journalists that tougher questions
of government officials were especially important during "the most important era
for news since [World War II]."
Addressing the Radio-Television News Directors Association's awards ceremony
at the Museum of Television & Radio in New York Tuesday, Williams said that
after Sept. 11 and with a possible incursion into Iraq in the near future,
journalists must meet the challenges of the times. "Airing criticism of our
government does not make us critics of our government," he added.
Williams told the story of how citizens packed straw under railroad tracks in
1881 so gravely wounded President James Garfield, who wanted to see the
New Jersey shore one last time, would be more comfortable. The only ones not
doing so were journalists covering the event. Williams said it is still "not the
journalist's role to put straw beneath the president's